Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker thinks second baseman Brandon Phillips and pitcher Johnny Cueto got the shaft on the National League All-Star roster from Tony La Russa.
Baker said in a Cincinnati Enquirer story that the decision stemmed from an August 2010 brawl between the Reds and the St. Louis Cardinals when La Russa was their manager.
"A snub like that looks bad," Baker said. "Johnny and Brandon were at the center of a skirmish between us and the Cardinals. Some of the Cardinals who aren't there anymore are making some of the selections."
Cueto received a seven-game suspension after the bench-clearing incident and Phillips was fined.
"It would be absolutely wrong for me to have done what they're accusing me of - which is keeping two deserving All-Stars off the team because of some past (bleep) they were involved in," La Russa told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Monday. "But it would be more wrong to put them on the team to avoid a cheap shot and give them a spot that just didn't work out for them."
On Sunday, La Russa at told the Post-Dispatch that if Cuerto were not scheduled to pitch on the Sunday before the All-Star Game that he probably would have been selected. However, baseball rules do not say a pitcher should be passed over for selection if he pitches the Sunday before the All-Star Game.
Phillips' numbers this season made him worthy of consideration for a third straight All-Star spot. He is batting .285 with 10 homers and 46 RBI. La Russa, who retired last season after a long run as Cardinals manager, selected Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros over Phillips as a reserve second baseman.
Cueto is 9-4 with a 2.26 ERA.
I see that I have great numbers," Cueto said. "I thought the way I pitched this year, I'd have a chance to go to the All-Star Game. I don't know what happened. I don't know if the manager of All-Star Game is (ticked) at me because I went out with one of his girlfriends."
Neither player is part of baseball's "final vote" program for the final roster spot.
First baseman Joey Votto, outfielder Jay Bruce and closer Aroldis Chapman will represent the Reds in the All-Star game July 10 in Kansas City.